The council recognises that the Covid-19 outbreak is having an impact on our residents, especially those who have had a sudden drop in income. For residents whose financial circumstances have changed and who are struggling to pay council tax, the council offers a range of support.
We can provide guidance and support covering:
- financial support options
- making payments
- changes in circumstance
- other support available
Financial support options
Do I still have to pay Council Tax?
Council tax pays for essential services that are delivered to all residents of Wirral, so it is really important that if your circumstances have not changed, that you continue to pay what you should, maintain your direct debit payments, or payment plan as detailed on your bill.
If your circumstances have changed then, wherever possible, you should continue to pay as much as you can so that you do not fall into arrears, which you may find difficult to catch up on in the future.
I’m struggling to pay my Council Tax bill. Can I reduce my bill?
There are a number of ways the council can help reduce your Council Tax bill or spread the financial load at this difficult time. These will depend on your circumstances or those of people who live with you. It is important to take the time to check that you are receiving any reduction you may be entitled to claim.
The following options are available:
Option 1: Local Council Tax Support
Residents who are of working age and on a reduced income (and who have made a claim for Universal Credit) can apply for help by claiming Local Council Tax Support. A claim can made online at Council Tax Support. We can accept a new Universal Credit claim notice as a claim for Council Tax Support.
If your application is successful, you will be sent a notification advising you of your entitlement along with and a revised Council Tax bill.
Option 2: The Council Tax Hardship Fund
Working-age residents who receive Council Tax Support for the financial year 2020-21, will receive a further reduction in their annual Council Tax bill of up to a maximum of £150. You do not need to apply; if you are eligible the Covid-19 Council Tax Hardship Award will be automatically applied to your Council Tax account, which is in addition to Council Tax Support and any discounts granted.
If payments for 2020/21 have been made, you will still receive the relevant hardship payment. Any 2020/21 credit balance created will be offset against any arrears.
If the Council Tax bill (amount payable) is already below £150, the bill for 2020-21 will be reduced to zero.
New 2020-21 bills will be sent in the post from 26th July.
A Council Tax hardship award will only reduce if your liability ends partway within the 2020/21 financial year, or if your entitlement to Council Tax Support increases and leaves you with a liability of less than £150 for 2020/21. If this is the case your bill be reduced to nil.
For joint named accounts, the maximum you can receive is £150 for the property not per Council Tax Support claim.
If you have lost your job, had a reduction in your working hours and wages or have had to take time off work and you do not get paid you might be entitled to claim benefits. Check if you are entitled to claim new style Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit to top up your income. It is important to take the time to check that you are receiving any benefits that you may be entitled to claim.
If you become entitled to Council Tax Support during 2020-21, and you are of working-age with a Council Tax liability to pay, then you will be granted a Council Tax hardship award up to a maximum of £150.
I can’t afford to pay April’s instalment, what should I do?
If you cannot afford to pay your April instalment, then we can recalculate your bill to include your missed April payment with your remaining payments. We ask that you try to pay as much as you can in the meantime. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 606 2002.
What other support is available to me?
Spreading payments across the year
Whether you are eligible for Local Council Tax Support or not, all residents are able to reduce their monthly payments by spreading the cost across over the whole year. Council tax payments are usually made in 10 monthly instalments (from April to January) and so spreading the cost across 12 months of the year would reduce your monthly payment.
As the April payment has already been requested, any new requests will be equally divided by the number of whole months left in the financial year (1st April – 31st March). A new notice will be issued with revised instalments. Email email@example.com if you would like to arrange this.
If you are struggling to pay your council tax bill and would like to discuss the options available to you then please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 606 2002.
For more information regarding all Council Tax discounts, exemption, disabled relief and reductions visit www.wirral.gov.uk/counciltax
You can apply online at www.wirral.gov.uk/discount
Direct Debit flexibility
If you need to change your payment date due to recent income changes then payment by direct debit gives more flexibility. If you pay by direct debit you can choose a payment date of 5th, 12th, 20th or 28th of each month. You can set up a direct debit online at www.wirral.gov.uk/ddonline
You need to allow 14 days’ notice for the first payment to be taken.
I am paying by Direct Debit but cannot afford to make my payments, what should I do?
We can recalculate your direct debit to ensure that the missed payment(s) will be added to your remaining instalments. You can contact us on email@example.com or call 0151 606 2002.
Please remember that it is better to pay something than nothing at all and this will allow you to catch up your missed payments quicker in the future.
I usually pay my Council Tax bill at the Post Office or via Paypoint. How can I continue to make my payments?
We understand that it may not be possible for you to leave the house to pay via Paypoint or at a Post Office.
Payment can still be made in a variety of ways including:
- Direct debit - payment can be taken direct from your bank on either the 5th, 12th, 20th or 28th of the month. You can set this up by visiting www.wirral.gov.uk/ddonline
- by credit or debit card through our website www.wirral.gov.uk/wirralpay or call the 24 Hour payment line 0151 606 2345
- online banking - please quote you Council Tax reference when making your payment. This is an eight-digit number starting with an 8 which you can find on your Council Tax bill and notice
How can I access my Council Tax account online?
You can save time and effort by registering to manage your Council Tax online. Once registered and signed into your account you will be able to:
- check your outstanding balance and payments you have made
- check when your next payment is due
- see how your Council Tax is calculated
- apply to make an arrangement to pay your outstanding balance
- view paperless bills and correspondence we have sent to you
- view your Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support details
- landlords view Housing Benefit payments due to you
- view your Business Rates details and how they are calculated
- set up a Direct Debit for Council Tax or Business Rates
The service is quick and easy to sign up to, visit www.wirral.gov.uk/myaccount and make sure you have your email address and your Council Tax account reference number (found on the Council Tax bill).
Changes in circumstance
What change in circumstances must I tell you about?
You must tell us about any changes that would affect the amount of Council Tax you have to pay. You can report the following changes online at www.wirral.gov.uk/counciltax
- apply for a Council Tax Discount or Exemption
- changes to the people who live with you which may affect your entitlement to a discount or exemption, including when a child has turned 18
- change of address www.wirral.gov.uk/address
To advise us of a change in name, contact details, billing address or property ownership, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit
If you are currently in receipt of Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit, and your circumstances relating to your household or income have changed, then you must tell us straight away. You can report a change online.
A relative has moved in with me, will this change what I need to pay?
Some people receive a Single Person Discount because they live in a property with no other adult occupiers. If a relative has moved in with you temporarily and they have a home elsewhere that they will return to when the outbreak ends, your Single Person Discount will not stop. You will only need to tell us if somebody has given up their home and has moved in permanently with you and will not return to their previous address.
Still need help?
If you would like more information about the options available to you, or to talk to us about your particular circumstances, then you can contact us on email@example.com or call 0151 606 2002.